Carolina Beach – July 19, 2018
Red, of Island Tackle and Hardware, reports that there are a few trout in the creeks, and they’re mostly biting Z-Man and Gulp shrimp.
Redfish have been on the oyster beds, where they’re happy to strike Carolina-rigged mullet and topwater lures.
Flounder are spread out around the creeks and in the inlet, where they’ll fall for both mullet and pogies.
A few black drum and sheepshead have been caught under the bridge on fiddler crabs.
Nearshore wrecks are producing flounder for anglers fishing mullet and pogies. Some spanish and kings are also biting spoon/planer combos.
Offshore, wahoo and dolphin are chasing skirted ballyhoo, while a few blackfins have been caught on trolled cedar plugs.
On the bottom, cigar minnows and squid have produced plenty of black sea bass, gag grouper, beeliners, and triggers.
Christian, of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that red drum are biting inshore, with most of the fish being lower-slot. Look for the reds around solid structure such as oyster beds and shell bottoms.
Fishing float-rigged live minnows at high tide around grass islands and points has caught some flounder while targeting the reds that are hugging the bottom.
Most of the flounder are on the border of being keepers, but there have been some 17-19” fish in the mix as well. Throwing Gulp shrimp or Z-Man PaddlerZ on 1/4 oz. jig heads will work if you want to target the flatfish specifically.
Ladyfish and bluefish can be found surface feeding in the river when conditions are right.
Guion, of Green Creek Outfitters, reports that fishing has been fantastic all over the place, partially due to the use of Otter Tails, which can be combined with jig heads and are responsible for catching plenty of flounder and red drum.
The reds have been upper- to over-slot, depending on where you’re fishing and what tide stage you’re in. The jetties have been holding a lot of bigger fish on slack and incoming tides, while more of the slot-sized fish have been hanging around ICW docks.
Flounder, which are also falling for the classic Carolina-rigged mullet, are swimming all over inshore channels.
Speckled trout have been mostly absent, but plenty of grays have come in while Spro jigging for flounder on nearshore wrecks.
Spanish (weighing up to 6 lbs.) have been steadily chewing off the beach, and some nice kings are coming in on Mac-a-Hoos about 5-10 miles offshore.
Rod, of OnMyWay Fishing Charters, reports that 16-20” spanish are still biting off the beach, though their range has increased to about 20-45’+ of water. Look for them from the mid-point of the falling tide until the end, as the rising tide makes for tougher fishing.
Clarkspoons have been working as always, but to mix things up, try trolling at 5.5 knots with a Big Nik Spanish Candy lure. While typically used for casting, the lure can be tied to a 6’, 30 lb. fluorocarbon leader (and nothing else) and dragged 30-60 yards behind the boat to produce incredible numbers of fish.
Kings have been biting between 10-25 miles, with boat limits being caught 75% of the time. Drone spoons (size 3.5) in pink with chartreuse tape have been attracting plenty of attention, and you can troll them fast or slow. Work ledges, bait, and live bottoms, and be patient (especially when fishing near bait). Even if you don’t get bites for over an hour, the fish will show up.
Mahi have been mixed with the kings, particularly in the 18-30 mile range. If you can find some of the scattered weed lines in that area, you will find fish. An overabundance of flying fish in the same areas means that sailfish should be biting there very soon, too.
Bottom fishing within 30 miles has produced some big black sea bass, though you have to wade through plenty of smaller fish to find them. Gag grouper (15-18 lbs.) can be found in this range as well. Beyond 30 miles, you can take advantage of an on-fire scamp and red grouper bite, and don’t be surprised to pull up plenty of 3 lb. beeliners as well.
The 40 mile rock and WR2 have been providing a lot of great mahi fishing, but the Gulf Stream has been slow.
Jesse, of Ocean Stinger Fishing Charters, reports that the spanish and king mackerel bite has been good in the early morning.
Targeting 25-45’ of water has been the best place to look for spanish, especially on rising tides. Trolling using #1 planers and Clarkspoons rigged on long 30’, 20 lb. test fluorocarbon leaders has been the ticket, especially when setting lines about 75-100’ behind the boat.
Look for kings in the 10-12 mile range around suspended bait marks and over ledges and drop-offs. Running Drone spoons on #8 planers with 50’, 100 lb. test while trolling at 5-7 knots is still the best way to draw strikes.
Offshore, the mahi bite has finally picked back up between 25-30 miles off of Masonboro Inlet. You can find them in about 90-110’ of water. Rigged ballyhoo on small skirt rigs has been getting bites, especially when using pink/green, white/green, and blue/white Ilanders.
In the Gulf Stream, the mahi and blackfin bite has picked up in the last week. Running 55-65 miles offshore to about 25-35 fathoms has been productive. Both species of fish are attacking small baits, as well as Fathom half pint skirt rigs with no bait.
Jared, of Kure Beach Pier, reports that blues, flounder, and spanish have all been in the mix, with a 44 lb. king serving as the highlight catch over the past two weeks. All of the smaller fish have been caught on shrimp in the early mornings.
Abigail, of Carolina Beach Pier, reports that flounder and black drum have made up the majority of the catch. The drum are being caught on shrimp, sand fleas, and live bait in the morning and early afternoon (about two hours before tide change).